Those in professional construction roles or seeking such jobs say base salary remains the single biggest factor in considering a job offer, but it is often outweighed by benefits, culture and career growth, according to a survey of 400 industry respondents released on Oct. 19 by global specialty recruiter Hays plc.

The group is part of the 2,100 U.S. respondents occupying entry-level to C-suite roles in 16 sectors, also including accounting and finance, information technology and life sciences. Of that group, half were baby boomers, and the rest were split between Gen X and Gen Y employees.

Hays says 46% of the industry cohort is satisfied with their current roles, slightly above the survey average. About 65% of construction respondents would accept a base salary cut in exchange for a higher bonus; 62% want more than a 10% salary hike to leave a job, more than in other sectors.

More than 74% listed a signing bonus as their most desired benefit, the most in the survey. But industry professionals prioritize project importance and budget size as career-growth markers more than peers in other sectors and rate more highly working with the right team and having strong company leadership.

“Construction professionals are happier and less likely to leave compared to other industries,” said Hays Executive Vice President James Hawley. “But that makes recruitment even more of a challenge.”